Chelsea have three players Barcelona may accept in swap deal to sign £30m Sergino Dest

Chelsea in 2021: Champions of Europe as Tuchel takes control

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Chelsea are eager to strengthen their defence in the January transfer window and have identified Barcelona’s Sergino Dest as a potential reinforcement in the wing-back positions, Express Sport understands. Chelsea are down to just one left-back in Marcos Alonso with Ben Chilwell out for several months due to knee ligament damage.

The Blues are hoping to contend for the Premier League title this season while they will also harbour ambitions of defending their Champions League crown and winning a domestic cup. After beating Brentford on Wednesday night, they’re into the Carabao Cup semi-finals where they will face Tottenham.

And while Chelsea have players who can deputise as a left-sided wing-back such as Christian Pulisic, the Londoners would ideally prefer a more natural full-back, with Barcelona’s Dest eyed as an option.

The £30million-rated US international can play on either side of the pitch, allowing him to get plenty of minutes even when Chilwell returns to fitness, and at just 21 years old can be a long-term option out wide for Thomas Tuchel.

Bayern Munich also like the Dutchman and while Barcelona may not want to sell until the summer, the Catalan giants need to sell players to raise money in order to register Nou Camp-bound Ferran Torres to play in La Liga due to Spanish football’s financial fair play rules.

Express Sport looks at players Chelsea could include in a cash-plus-player swap deal in order to entice Xavi’s Barca to do business for Dest midway through the season.

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Cesar Azpilicueta

Express Sport understands Barca have made an inquiry about Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta with the player out of contract this coming summer.

The 32-year-old, who can play at right-back or centre-back, is one of Chelsea’s most authoritative figures in the dressing room having been at Stamford Bridge since 2012.

Azpilicueta is said to be eager to fight for his place in Tuchel’s side and it is widely expected that Chelsea will keep him and agree a new deal.

But were Chelsea so desperate to bring in Dest, and also able to do a deal to bring a centre-back such as Sevilla’s Jules Kounde in the same month, perhaps they might let Azpilicueta go.

Of course it is unlikely because he’s still so important to Chelsea, but Barca’s registered interest in the player means the veteran Spain international would presumably be one of those they’d be most willing to give up Dest for.

Hakim Ziyech

Chelsea are blessed with an abundance of forwards and as such only Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner have played less minutes this season than Hakim Ziyech (1,049).

Both have missed a combined 17 matches due to injuries and Covid, though, and were it not for those reasons, their minutes would dwarf Ziyech’s.

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The Moroccan has three goals and four assists at an average of a direct goal contribution every 149 minutes, meaning at least one every two games.

But with such competition for places, perhaps in order to strengthen at left wing-back, Chelsea might be willing to let Ziyech go with the 28-year-old former Ajax magician having been linked with the Spanish heavyweights.

Chelsea would surely prefer to keep the player who they signed for £40m around 18 months ago, especially seeing as he isn’t heading to the African Cup of Nations next month, but doing a deal where they swap Dest for Ziyech while also pocketing a bit of cash could make some sense.

Andreas Christensen

Another player, like Azpilicueta, who is out of contract at the end of the summer, Chelsea letting go of a centre-back in January would surely be contingent on them signing a replacement.

Kounde, Lille’s Sven Botman and Wolfsburg’s Maxence Lacroix are all potential options and should any of them arrive, perhaps Chelsea might be willing to do a deal for Dest involving Christensen.

The Dane, 25, has grown in stature at Chelsea under Tuchel but contract talks continue to stagnate and recent reports indicate he has changed agents. It is unclear how this will affect negotiations, though players regularly change representatives in order to help broker moves.

If that is the case, perhaps rather than lose him for free, Barca might be willing to take Christensen given Gerard Pique is ageing and Samuel Umtiti is up for sale combined with the fact they don’t have great finances.

A move may appeal to the player given the size of the club even despite their current demise. And it would allow Chelsea to at least get something in return for the player rather than losing him as a free agent next July.

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